CLEVELAND — The Cuyahoga County Council approved the first reading on plans for distributing their share of the $260 million they received in a settlement they reached drug companies and distributors to avoid a trial over their responsibility for the opioid epidemic.
The council heard a proposal Tuesday to establish an Opioid Mitigation Fund, which sponsors say would set aside the millions of dollars the county receives as part of its settlement and earmark it to fight the opioid epidemic. According to the council agenda, it was the fourth piece of legislation to be addressed at Tuesday's meeting.
The proposed ordinance establishing the fund calls for "all monies received by Cuyahoga County as the result of a settlement agreement, trial verdict, court order, or some other action" related to the federal lawsuit "to be used solely for opioid remediation, mitigation, and rectification of the opioid epidemic in Cuyahoga County."
"The natural concern is that it will line pockets other than those it was intended to line," said Andrew Pollis, a professor with Case Western Reserve University's School of Law. He added that with so much money at stake, it's crucial that the community follow how it's spent.
Cuyahoga County executive Armond Budish said the county was happy the trial was settled outside of court and that they would be able to use the money immediately.